The IPL has come to a grand end with today being the finals. Chennai Super Kings will take on Kolkata Knight Riders in the finals. The tournament has been a boon for the Indian team. The management has observed the players and their form. Relevant changes have been incorporated. News has been that Shardul Thakur has been included in the squad instead of Axar Patel. This is a brilliantly timed decision in the view of Hardik Pandya not being able to bowl in the IPL.
The tournament has also helped the team understand the pitch conditions and game requirements. Sharjah being the slowest pitch had low-scoring games with batting incredibly difficult. It is a blessing for India that it will not be playing any games there. In the run-up to the ICC World T20, we look at the best eleven who India could field to optimally utilize their resources.
In this article, we look at India’s expected playing XI in the world T20I.
1. Rohit Sharma
Sharma is arguably India’s best white ball cricketer in the last few years. He has already claimed that India will go into the tournament fully determined to win it this time. He is the current vice-captain and is most likely tipped to be the captain after Kohli steps don post the world cup. He has been extremely successful in the leadership role in T20 and the team would be banking on his big-hitting and experience to help in the team.
2. KL Rahul
Rahul has been in the form of his life. He made a spectacular return to test cricket against England. In white ball cricket, he is the recipient of the orange cap in the last two IPL seasons. His strike rate may be an issue but we all know his big-hitting abilities. In the last do-or-die game against CSK, Rahul took Punjab to victory by chasing down 139 in 13 overs. He scored 98 in 42 balls. It is hoped that this form continues in the world cup too.
3. Virat Kohli
The captain and the king of the game would be walking out as captain the final time. He would have immense pressure and a lot to prove. The team would be playing to give Kohli a final hurray. Kohli had phenomenally lit the 2016 edition of the world cup and it is hoped that he relives that form and wins it for India.
4. Surya Kumar Yadav
Yadav is quintessentially the x-factor in the team. He started off his T20 career with a first ball six which he flicked off his hips. He is one of the biggest hitters in the team and a lot of expectations would be off him. in the important last league game for Mumbai Indians, Yadav finished in great style by scoring 82 off 40 to help the team reach a mighty 235.
5. Rishabh Pant
The Indian batting line-up looks extremely threatening on paper with the top 6 being in excellent form. Pant is a known finisher and his hitting capabilities are already established. He can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of few balls. Pant’s strike rate of close to 150 in the IPL shall be proof enough for his incredible hitting ability.
6. Ravindra Jadeja
Jaddu enjoyed the time of his life in this year’s IPL. In the UAE leg of the tournament, his form went into a new dimension and he was the team’s best finisher. He often took CSK’s to position which the team could not have anticipated with his clinical hitting. He averaged 76 in this IPL and batted with a strike rate of 145. He is a perfect fit at no. 6.
7. Shardul Thakur
One may argue that Hardik Pandya is better suited at this position but Thakur has done enough to merit a selection in the team. India’s top 6 has only one bowler. From no.7 to no. 11, we have 5 specialist bowlers but if one of them has bad day then there should be back-up. This lack off an extra bowler haunted us against the Windies in the 2016 world cup semis. Thakur could be an excellent fit here. His penchant to take key wickets in the middle innings and big hitting makes him the right candidate.
8. Ravichadran Ashwin
He may be coming back into the team after a long hiatus but he continues be one of the smartest cricketers round. In qualifier 2 of the IPL, he bowled the last over and nearly got Delhi over the line. He managed to pick 2 wickets and took the match till the last two balls while defending just 7 runs. He is a an extremely shrewd transactor and can be effective in the pitches of UAE.
9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvi’s T20 records need no special introduction. He has been a magnificent asset for both India and Sunrisers Hyderabad. His death over yorkers and slower ones are difficult to pick and he is perfect when bowling with Bumbrah. He has won the purple cap consecutively in 2016 and 2017.
10. Mohammed Shami
Shami generally flies under the radar but is one of the best bowlers in the world right now across formats. He gets the ball to nip and is superfast. He has picked 79 wickets in 77 games of IPL at an average of 30. His economy of 8.50 is well within acceptable range. If the fast bowling trio click together for India, there is no stopping India.
11. Jasprit Bumbrah
Arguably the most lethal and dangerous T20 bowler is Jasprit Bumbrah. His toe crushing yorkers and fast inswingers can make any bastman shudder. The idea of playing Bhuvi, Shami and Bumbrah in the same team is already tantalizing for an Indian fan but terrorising for opposition camps. If Bumbrah can operate at his optimum, then it would be a delight for India.